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Bar News - February 9, 2007


Part 2: Lawyer-Legislators in the NH House

By:

 

Editor’s Note: Sure enough, our count of NH Bar members in NH House of Representatives in the last Bar News missed at least one member – Nashua attorney and developer David B. Campbell, bringing to 13 the NH Bar members in the House. The complete (we hope) list appears at the end of this article. Part 1 of our series was published in the Jan. 19 issue of Bar News.  In a future issue, Bar News will check in with NHBA members in the State Senate.

 

Lawyers in the NH House, like their non-lawyer counterparts, are anticipating a challenging and substantive session this year, with the school-funding challenge as their foremost task. Their work this year also will be marked by the added work of coping with a new party in the majority, and the always imposing task of completing the biennial budget.

 

David B. Campbell, D-Nashua

Fourth term

 

Committee: Public Works and Highways, vice chairman

Legal background: Harvard University. Suffolk University Law School. Practice related to real estate and land use law. Also licensed to practice in Massachusetts.

Priorities: Notes there are no easy answers to this year’s budget work and efforts to define and then to fund an adequate public education. Inspired by the 2006 elections. “We were given some sort of mandate,” he says of being in the New Hampshire Legislature’s Democratic majority. He is spearheading another effort to modify the state’s constitution in order to make the governor’s office a four-year term.

                        Sponsor of a bill to improve the implementation of the state’s 10-year highway plan by creating better updates every two years. The bill would account for inflation in the costs and necessary revenues and it would remove projects that are no longer feasible, have significantly changed, and lack necessary permits. Also sponsor of a bill to establish a bureau of historic sites in the state Division of Parks and Recreation.

Personal: Born Oct. 3, 1957. Real estate developer. Member of the 1984 Constitutional Convention, where he helped in nearly approving a measure to change the governor’s term from two years to four years.

 

Cynthia J. Dokmo, R-Amherst

Seventh term

 

Committee: Legislative Administration, former chair of Judiciary

Legal background: Law firm of Drescher & Dokmo in Milford

Priorities: Sponsor of bills to update laws, including one in connection with the family division of the judicial branch. In 2006, sponsored bill signed into law that permits the court to order mediation in divorce proceedings if either party requests it, or at the court’s discretion. Co-sponsor of a bill to ban smoking in restaurants, bars and certain enclosed public spaces. With Sen. Joseph Foster, D-Nashua, sponsored several bills that became law last session to update judicial branch administration. One bill added court security to the duties of the state’s court accreditation commission.

Personal: Member of the Main Street Republican caucus. Board member of the Endowment for Health.

 

Matthew S. Houde, D-Plainfield

First term

 

Committee: Commerce

Legal background: Law firm Hinkley, Allen & Snyder; Administrator at Vermont Law School; Dartmouth 1991; previously practiced in Conn.

Priorities: “This is an exciting time to be in the legislature—we have to address school funding and the definition of adequacy—we have to find a solution that works.” Priority includes raising state’s minimum wage. His legal experience will help him deal with Commerce Committee’s multifaceted agenda including banking and insurance matters. (Although he appeared on both the Democrat and Republican general-election ballots, he will caucus with the Democrats.)

 

Paul McEachern, D-Portsmouth

Fourth term

 

Committee: Commerce

Legal background: University of New Hampshire 1963. Boston University 1966. Law firm of Shaines & McEachern in Portsmouth. Practice features real estate, employment and trial law.

Priorities: “Education funding is the elephant in the room,” says McEachern, a vocal critic of the statewide property tax as a fair funding source. His goal is to keep the state from “bleeding the cost of government” further onto local property taxes.

Personal: Born Dec. 30, 1937. U.S. Navy 1956-60. Former Democratic candidate for governor. Past president of the NH Bar (1981-82).

 

Edward P. Moran, R-Bedford

Fifth term

 

Committee: Children and Family Law (former chair)

Legal background: Suffolk University JD 1972, NHBA member on inactive status.

Priorities: Sponsor of a bill to extend insurance coverage to certain unmarried children 24 years-of-age or younger, provided the dependents have the same legal residence or are full- or part-time students. “I really couldn’t find any rationale for kids not to stay on the family policy,” he says, referring to continued state efforts to expand health insurance. Another goal: benchmarks and steps to measure how well taxpayer dollars are being spent.

Personal: Born April 2, 1943. Father of six. Former representative to Southern New Hampshire Planning Commission.

 

Gary B. Richardson, D-Hopkinton

First term

 

Committee: Judiciary

Legal background: Middlebury College 1967. Boston College Law School JD 1970. Partner at Upton & Hatfield, where he concentrates in medical malpractice and personal injury law.

Priorities: “Solving the school-funding crisis is our No. 1 priority.” A co-sponsor of a bill to reimburse NH Supreme Court justices Brock, Broderick, and Horton for legal fees incurred in the 2000 impeachment/ethics case. Former Chief Justice Brock was acquitted in a state senate trial. Expects to see several bills before Judiciary Committee on court administration and ideas to reform the state’s Right-to-Know law.

Personal: Born Oct. 16, 1944. Father of two lawyers. Serves as town moderator in Hopkinton. Former chairman of the New Hampshire Ballot Law Commission. Avid reader, sailor, golfer.

 

Gregory M. Sorg, R-Easton

Third term

 

Committee: Judiciary

Legal background: University of Maryland 1972. Washington & Lee University JD 1976. Sole practitioner, concentrates in real estate law. He notes New Hampshire has a low percentage of lawyers in the legislature, in part due to its nearly volunteer nature. “It’s very demanding.”

Priorities: School accountability and to reassert legislative oversight of funding. Sponsor of constitutional amendment relative to determination of legislative acts and author of House resolution declaring judicial branch’s directives in the school funding cases are not binding on the legislative and executive branches. Also sponsor of a bill to abolish cap on personal injury cases when the state is responsible.

Personal: Born Aug. 28, 1950. Father of one. Former member of the Easton selectmen, planning and zoning boards.

 

If you are in doubt about the status of any meeting, please call the Bar Center at 603-224-6942 before you head out.

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